It would be foolish for us to suggest companies establishing corporate social responsibility programs is, on its own, enough to solve some of the biggest problems facing our world.
Heck, we don’t even believe this ourselves. After all, we believe shrinking the digital divide and the e-waste stream can only be achieved by removing systemic social and economic barriers.
However, corporations and other large organizations can still help cultivate social equity and promote sustainability through establishing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.
The evidence is undeniable that there’s much to gain by taking an active role in cultivating social equity and promoting sustainability.
1. Consumers Demand Corporate Stewardship
Consumers are demanding more from the businesses they patronize. Research shows that 87% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a company that they can align their values with, and over half of consumers are willing to pay extra for products that come from sustainable sources.
The sword cuts both ways, too. If it’s clear that your business is prioritizing maximizing the value delivered to shareholders above the value delivered to all stakeholders, up to 57% of consumers are willing to stop shopping with you. That means that, in 2021, deciding to be a steward of your community and our environment is not only a good thing to do – it’s a good business decision.
2. CSR Increases Employee Engagement
Your company is truly only as great as the people who embody the mission of your organization. The brands that understand this fundamental principle prioritize employee retention and talent recruitment. Corporate Social Responsibility has proven to be key to both of these things.
A study conducted by IBM found a strong positive correlation between employees who thought their employer was environmentally responsible and employees who were committed to and satisfied with their jobs.
Additional research has shown that, of the surveyed employees who reported being satisfied with their organization’s commitment to CSR, 86% were noted as having high levels of engagement.
In one recent study, 44% of young professionals indicated that they would not work for an employer with a reputation for being environmentally unsustainable.
These stats should make it clear that committing to being a socially and environmentally responsible business is a prerequisite for high employee engagement and successful talent acquisition.
3. CSR is Good for Brand Equity
When 75% of a company’s value is based on its reputation, it should be a no-brainer to make brand-boosting an integral part of your business. Luckily, CSR programs are an easy way to increase your brand’s equity.
If your company makes real, authentic efforts to embody the principles of corporate social responsibility, everyone is going to take notice – especially the people who your actions directly impact.
Take Target, for example. By donating 5% of its profits to certain communities where their stores were based, they not only enhanced brand loyalty among the consumers who lived in those areas, but they also attracted positive attention from multiple press outlets, thus compounding the benefit of this one, simple action.
4. CSR Drives Innovation
To some, corporate social responsibility seems like a necessary money-sink. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, companies ought to view CSR programs as an exciting, new avenue through which to drive innovation, both internally and externally. By adhering to sustainable principles, your company can uncover new methods for designing and manufacturing new products or solutions that you otherwise wouldn’t have sought out.
Not only can these new methods result in better, more environmentally friendly products, but they can also be cheaper. A great example of this was when General Mills reduced its energy consumption and spending by 20% just by committing to using less packaging and less energy during manufacturing.
5. Adopting CSR Principles is Smart for the Future
Not even counting the benefits to your customer loyalty, employee engagement, or your bottom line, the facts are clear: the Earth is over-consuming natural resources in the name of exponential economic growth.
By mandating your operations be environmentally-sound and socially-conscious, your business will be able to weather the storm of decreasing resource availability and become part of the new ecosystem of sustainable enterprises that will dominate commerce in the decades to come.
All of that being said, nobody is trying to hide the fact that establishing a robust, authentic CSR program takes time.
In the meantime, companies who are looking for ways to embody sustainability need partners who are willing to guide them in that transition – partners like Human-I-T!
Whether it’s by diverting thousands of pounds of their own unwanted electronics from landfills, giving their staff the opportunity to give back to the community through employee giving campaigns or tech drives, or sponsoring a device distribution to a local non-profit partnering with Human-I-T presents businesses with a unique opportunity to benefit the environment, the community, and their own company in one fell swoop.